2015 Reading Challenge
22. Thirteen Reasons Why (aka Th1rteen R3asons Why) by Jay Asher
Theme/Topic: book recommended by a friend
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.
*Possible spoiler alert*
Since this book was recommended by a friend, I didn't know what to expect. This is what I like about doing this particular reading challenge. As there are fifty different themes/topics to read, not every one is something that I would naturally read. I like that it takes me out of my comfort zone to read books that I necessarily wouldn't or maybe haven't heard of before. I had to come into reading this with an open mind.
Suicide is real. It's something that exists and is one of those things that can really affect each of us in the long run - meaning that each of us may possibly know someone who has taken their life someday. It seems that suicide is becoming more common nowadays, even if it doesn't always make the news. I have heard on more than one occasion where teens have chosen to end their life because they were different (like being gay for instance) or being bullied. Of course there are other reasons why people in general may commit suicide: some due to family problems or even due to mental illness and other reasons. No matter what the reason is, they shouldn't be judged for doing so. It's impossible to know what someone of any age is thinking or even going through right before they decide to end their life.
Despite some of the reasons listed in the above paragraph, sometimes we don't find out why someone did choose to end their life. That's kind of why I thought this book was well executed. It might be scary, or more-than-less freaky, to have been one of those thirteen people to have received the tapes. I can also see it as this: at least some people got to know the answer to their question, why did Hannah end her life? It goes to show how the choices that we make can affect others - even to the point of someone wanting to commit suicide.
Which brings me to this. I like how we got to read it from Clay's perspective, instead of one of the other twelve people. Clay didn't technically do something to make Hannah choose to commit suicide, but rather something he didn't do by just watching from the sidelines. If any of us sees something happen (like someone bullying another person for example) and we don't say anything, it's almost like we're the ones doing it as well. And that can hurt worse, like it did in the case with Clay and Hannah, although different circumstances than my example.
Overall, I enjoyed reading Thirteen Reasons Why. It's a deep read for anyone in general, including teens and young adults. We don't always know what our family and friends are going through. If you or any of your family and friends are considering suicide, find someone to talk to or by calling the suicide help line. If a friend tells you they want to end their life, take it seriously because you just don't know if they're telling the truth.
Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!